AOC Blasts Moderate Dems Critical of $3.5T Budget Resolution: 'They're Conservative'

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, took aim at moderate colleagues critical of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package Democrats aim to pass with a party-line vote, describing them as "conservative."

Roll Call reporter Lindsey McPherson reported Wednesday that eight to 10 moderate Democrats were considering voting against the massive spending package if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi does not quickly schedule a vote to pass the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal approved by the Senate this week. Progressive Democrats and Pelosi, a California Democrat, have maintained that the House will not pass the bipartisan deal without also approving the larger $3.5 trillion legislation in tandem.

"Conservative* House Democrats. Let's stop pretending that Dems who threaten to tank the President's agenda, kill childcare/Medicare expansion, and work w/ GOP to expand the cruelest parts of our immigration system are 'moderate,'" Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Thursday, sharing the news reported by McPherson.

"They are not moderate. They're conservative," the New York progressive wrote.

Conservative* House Democrats.

Let’s stop pretending that Dems who threaten to tank the President’s agenda, kill childcare/Medicare expansion, and work w/ GOP to expand the cruelest parts of our immigration system are “moderate.”

They are not moderate. They’re conservative.

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 11, 2021

Despite strong pushback and criticism from former President Donald Trump, 19 Republican senators voted to pass President Joe Biden's large infrastructure legislation on Tuesday after months of bipartisan negotiations. Biden has hailed the bill as a "historic investment" in the nation's infrastructure, with the $1.2 trillion price tag going toward roads, bridges, public transportation, upgrading the water system, addressing climate change, and expanding broadband internet access.

The Republican and Democratic negotiators behind the bill agreed to specific pay-fors and have said that the legislation will not add to the national debt. However, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the infrastructure bill would add just over $250 billion to the national debt over the next decade.

Meanwhile, Biden and Democratic leaders aim to pass a much larger "human infrastructure" package with a price tag of about $3.5 trillion. As no Republicans are expected to support the legislation, the Democrats have turned to the budget reconciliation process to approve the bill—which will allow it to move forward in the Senate without any Republican backing.

But the budget reconciliation process will take time and some moderate Democrats want to swiftly pass the smaller bipartisan bill in the House. Some moderate Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate have also expressed concerns about elements of the larger $3.5 trillion package, as well as the overall price tag.

Late last week, moderate Democrats in the House wrote a letter to Pelosi urging her to swiftly schedule a vote on the Senate's bipartisan package. They also raised concerns about the cost of the larger "human infrastructure" bill, suggesting that it needed more discussion. They hailed the bipartisan nature of the smaller infrastructure package, suggesting it was not ideal to pass such a massive spending bill without any Republican buy-in.

Progressive lawmakers quickly responded, asserting that both the bipartisan and the partisan legislation must pass together.

"If mods want to blow up the infra deal, that's on them. I know this is tough for some to understand, but the US is more than a handful of suburbs- communities outside them aren't disposable," Ocasio-Cortez wrote at the time, retweeting a copy of the letter to Pelosi. "And just bc something is 'bipartisan' doesn't mean it's good. Look at Wall St bailouts," she added.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) talks with a reporter as she protests the expiration of the federal eviction moratorium on the House steps of the U.S. Capitol on August 3 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat and the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a Tuesday statement that the majority of her caucus would not vote for the bipartisan infrastructure package until they can also vote on the reconciliation bill. Jayapal said that the caucus members had been surveyed and the majority would withhold support.

"Our Caucus is clear: the bipartisan bill will only be passed if a package of social, human, and climate infrastructure — reflecting long-standing Democratic priorities — is passed simultaneously through budget reconciliation. We know that Congressional Democrats are committed to delivering immediate and transformational improvements for the lives of the American people, and will hold firm to meet that promise," Jayapal said.

Newsweek reached out to Pelosi's press secretary for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.